Disputes with a Free Trade Zone

Disputes with the Free Trade Zone

Popular disputes with Free Trade Zone's in the UAE are excessive office rent increase, trade license renewal fees and forced office space upgrades. Also the trade license termination invoice from the Free Trade Zone has a large potential for dispute.

Because the Free Trade Zone issue's the trade license and possibly residence visa's, no objection letters, disputes can easily result in grave consequences for the owner(s) of the Free Trade Zone Company.

When a dispute arises, make sure to immediately start the 'paper trail', meaning;

  • Only submit written complaints on company letterheads, signed and stamped
  • Insist on arrival notifications of written complaints, relentless track the notification
  • Log of names, titles and dates of communications
  • Confirm vocal agreement in writing on company letterheads, signed and stamped
  • Escalate to department or board level when necessary
  • If payments are imminent, make sure these are clearly filed as "under protest"
  • Make sure 'good intent' is clearly stated in any communication

In case of doubt contact or hire a local lawyer to deal with a legal Free Trade Zone dispute professionally. Any existing paper trail already helps significantly. Please note that the Free Trade Zone's have their own legal department. Once a local lawyer appears on the stage, usually contact with the Free Trade Zone will be directed to the legal department adding more lead-time to the matter.

When a dispute is the reason for stopping trade license renewals, make sure it's clearly and vividly stated in the termination board resolution with a reference to 'good intent'. When dealing with disputes with the Free Trade Zone  it's important to have the board resolution notarized where all partners clearly agree on the reasons for trade license termination.